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Kimberly Powell

The Ancestors We Will Never Find

By November 30, 2013

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I'm supremely confident that all of my ancestors are out there somewhere just waiting to be discovered. They didn't jump off of a spaceship. They weren't born as a full-grown adult. They didn't find the secret to time travel. I just haven't found them yet. At least that's what I keep telling myself...

Stranger found drowned - Photo: Medway Archives

But every now and then our ancestors were truly misplaced, such as in the case of the above "stranger found drowned" in the town of Shorne, Kent, England. I found him in the burial records of Shorne, courtesy of the Medway Archives which has digitized parish registers and other documents online from the Medway area of Kent, England. I guess that means the poor man was buried without anyone discovering who he was. I wonder if anyone missed him?

There are unknown babies out there as well. A lot of you probably have births in your family tree recorded as "father unknown." I do. I also discovered a few babies named "John" in those Medway parish records, who were baptized with no last name and identified as "a child found in this parish." It's not likely a genealogist will ever identify those little Johns' parents. And the person trying to figure out what happened to their 60-year-old ggg-grandfather after he disappeared from the census will probably never be able to connect him with the unidentified drowning victim. Not impossible. Nothing's impossible, I guess. But not likely.

Admitting to myself that there really is an ancestor I will likely never find makes me so sad, though. Like I'm planning their funeral... That's probably why I almost never admit it, and keep treating them like a brick wall ancestor. I just haven't found that secret brick yet. The one that if I push on it just the right way will bring that big, old honkin' wall tumbling down around me.

What is your biggest brick wall ancestor? Share your story and what you've tried to find him or her by clicking on "comments" below. You never know - maybe someone will be able to find that secret brick for you. If not, then we we'll all commiserate for you as we enjoy your tale.

July 16, 2007 at 8:31 pm
(1) Bob Baillie says:

I have been searching for my great grandfather, Alexander Baillie, born about 1853 in Penninghame, Scotland. He emigrated to the USA about 1893/4 and resided in Closter, NJ. His occupation was a stone carver/monumental mason. His son, Robert A Baillie, another stone carver, said in his autobiography, that his father died but the date was not given. Apparently, it was prior to 1904. I have tried multiple searches and have not been able to find the date and place of death for Alexander Baillie . In additon, another search difficulty was his daughter, Margaret (Maggie) Baillie, born about 1886 in Newton-Stewart Scotland. She emigrated to the USA in January of 1894 and resided in Closter NJ. At the time of the 1910 census, she was single and living at home. Later, she married and may have moved away from Closter but I have no record of her married name. These two descendants would complete the puzzle. I was successful in tracing all other siblings.

July 16, 2007 at 8:33 pm
(2) Al says:

Interesting how you have an article on “The Ancestors We May Never Find”. My story is about finding that special brick, having the wall come tumbling down, just to have another brick wall right behind the first one.
I had been looking for about 20 years for the parents of Mariah Converse, born in Granby, MA in 1801. I may know more about Converse’s than some others searching the Converse line! One day I was in the Clayton Library in Houston, TX, and found a microfiche on the town records of Granby, MA. I started reading them for the year 1801, and after a few pages, I found a simple one liner that read….”Mariah Converse was born on 4 Mar 1801 to mother Patty Giddings”. Well, I had found her mother, and let out a little “I finally found you”….which followed with a dirty look from the librarian. And now, another brick wall of no father. I anticipate he was a Converse….but no other information what so ever so far.
By the way, the librarian later came over to see what I had found, and chuckled that I had another interesting quest in my future!

July 16, 2007 at 8:43 pm
(3) Debra Jacobs says:

My biggest brick wall ancestor is my Great-Great Grandfather, John Geedeson. The only documented evidence we have for him is his citizenship papers found at the courthouse in Dodge City, Kansas, Dated October 26th, 1885. This document shows that he was a native of Denmark and that he was 37 years old.(this would have made his birth year 1848). Accounts from his children are that he had a flaming red beard and red hair. Another account from a daughter is that he had come into a sum of money and was traveling to either invest or deposit it when he disappeared. His overturned wagon was discovered in the Arkansas river but his body was never found. He disappearance occured somewhere after 1886 and before 1890. He was not listed in the 1890 census with the rest of his family.
Does anyone have any ideas?

July 16, 2007 at 10:10 pm
(4) Lillian McCrimmon says:

I have been searching for my Grt Grandfather Hatch John William Harrod on the 1891 British census for several years and can not find him. I have tried so many variations of the name Harrod but still no luck. On the 1901 census the family is in Little Dunmow ,Essex. In 1901 he is using the name John.In 1891 my Grandmother Mary Agnes and my Grt Grandmother Annie are in the household.
I understand the 1891 census was notorious for mistakes.
I have tried so hard to find him but have really hit a brickwall. Any help
greatly appreciated.

July 16, 2007 at 10:12 pm
(5) Lee E. Cloe says:

Starting my way in the genealogical forest in the 1950′s, I found my gret-grandfather, William James CLOW very quickly. While he was born in Virginia 2 June 1812, his first known recording is when he married Elizabeth RINGER in Marion Co., Indiana on 17 March 1836. Since neither he nor his wife could read or write, they left no records. As a result, they are listed as CLOE in one census and CLOW in another. He died Christmas Day, 1853 in Marion Co., Indiana.

Church records, land records, census records, property records, wills and all manner of possible records do not give any assistance in finding his parents or siblings (if any).

While there were other CLOE/CLOW individuals in Marion County during the period 1830 thru 1860, no connection between them and William James CLOW can be found. As yet, I have refused to believe that Marion County, Indiana is the Garden of Eden for CLOE/CLOW.

July 17, 2007 at 12:14 am
(6) Terri Maddox says:

I feel all of your pains with the brick wall family members. I belive every one has at least one branch that they can not get past. Johnathan Beard WRIGHT is my trial Born about 1848 in Georgia, godl love the man because I can’t find him anyplace. Iknow he exsisted because his son is my GG Grandfather Willam Robert Wright of Buford,Georgia.
So keep the faith especally the lady looking for a father unknown I had one and fianlly tracked him down on an online source. I have nothing proven yet, but the hunt is still on at least now i have a name and maybe you will too. Happy hunting

July 17, 2007 at 12:24 am
(7) Allison Kendrick says:

My biggest brick wall is my gg grandfather’s George Reim’s father. George Reim was born January 05 1846 in Suddersdorf,,Bayern,Germany died in August 03, 1935 in Walters, Faribault, Minnisota, USA. I have his mother name and his maternal parent’s name from his christianing certificate, but he was given his mother’s last name because his mother was unmarried. How she got the money to come to Americas and start a new life, and provide for her son I do not know, but I suspect she was an embarrassment either to her parents or the child’s father,so she was given money to come here. George Reim founded a family hundreds or morestrong, in both Minnesota, Iowa and Oklahoma.

July 17, 2007 at 9:08 am
(8) Mariah says:

What is your biggest brick wall ancestor?

The Holocaust.

July 17, 2007 at 10:14 am
(9) Betty Avril Luke says:

My biggest brick wall was the pain of not knowing who or where my family were for 30 + years after being taken from my mother & stepfather due to cruelty(them not me)at a young age & put into care…I had a yearning to research my lineage, to learn who I was & where my family had originated from but for many years no joy. Every Christmas & birthdays had a tremendous something missing inside even though I had my own children. needless to say I also felt awful that I could not tell them about their other family whenever they were curious enough to ask. But over the years I searched & searched armed only with the very few limited memories that I could muster & after a great deal of time the story that a local paper published in Cheltenham published for me was recognised by my late uncle’s wife Anna.

She filled in what she could herself remember which led to me being in touch with my birth aunty, who has over the last few years has been able to give me snippets of information & small details which had of course led me to this moment. Sadly though many of the relatives I loved & remembered as a child were passed on.

Due to a distant cousin who had uploaded his research into his own family name,I was able to connect 100% & complete my family tree on my grandmothers side, as his research had ended with her name & birth details, which to me was nothing short of a miracle. Thank you N M (you know who you are & that all your hard work made this possible. I found that I have LUKE/DOCHERTY/WILLIAMS/LUSCOMBE/COOMBE & BUCKINGHAM featuring strongly in my grandmothers lineage, so from there I tried to find details of my grandfather LUKE, but this is where I have hit a blank wall & even with my grandparent’s birth certificate there is now no loose brick in the wall to open the way.

Grandad JAMES ERNEST LUKE was b:1915 in Plymouth Devon & served in the Royal Engineers Armoured Division, he was killed in MACHYNLLETH WALES in 1957, whilst returning from TA camp.

Now this is where I have drawn a blank, because according to his records his mother’s surname could be BROWN, but alas at all too common a name I have run out of money, but thank fully not patience.

If tthe above rings a bell with anyone reading this, then please help me to knock this wall down.

Cheers Betty (ps friends call me Beth)

July 17, 2007 at 1:08 pm
(10) Kim in GA says:

My brick wall is the marriage info for my maternal great grandparents, Fred and Caroline Weiss. I even have their children showing her with a variety of maiden names – all similar except one. They are all the same woman we know because Fred did remarry after Caroline died. Anyone know a Caroline Neuss, Neus, Muse, Heus, Heiss, or Long, born ca 1850 in Buffalo, Erie Co., NY and died in 1893 in Wheeling, WV?
A 2nd brick wall is for a friend who is trying to find her gr, gr, gr,etc. grandparents, Dennis and Martha G. (Rice) Wilson. We’ve got Wilson family info but hardly anything on him and nothing on Martha G. Rice (before she married Dennis) except their marriage certificate dated 1818 in Caswell Co., NC. We can’t even find where they died and were buried. The local librarian says she doesn’t think she exists (lots of help that is). :)

July 17, 2007 at 2:49 pm
(11) Jewell Jungman says:

My brick wall is my grandmother. You would think I would have lots of resources to find such a close relative, but here’s the story. My grandparents, Elmer Davis and Electa Lewis, were both born in MA, at least one census gives that info. Elmer was born in 1850, and they married in Peoria County, IL in 1873. My uncle Clarence was born in 1874 and my father, Caleb Elmer Davis, was born in 1875. Elmer, the father, died in 1876 and I cannot find out what happened to Electa. One family story is that she remarried, and the new husband did not want the two children so they were sent to live with the grandparents. I do find Clarence in Pueblo CO census in 1880, but not my dad. He was raised by an aunt and uncle in Iowa from about age 9, I have been told. Maybe he was sent there earlier. Another family story is that the mother died at the same time the father did. Also a rumor that she was native american, and indeed there were tribes living in Illinois at that time. One census gives her birthplace as IL. I want so much to find her! I have searched all the places I know of – census, family histories, even paid $35 to a genealogist in Utah several years ago, and have followed up on all her suggestions. Well, that’s my story. Electa, where are you?

July 17, 2007 at 8:35 pm
(12) Shirley says:

My brick wall is my great grandmother Julia Ann Williams who married my great grandfather William Washington Ray in Van Zandt Texas in 1853, They had 14 children we have found 11. We have found information on them and their family. But we can’t find records from 1838 to 1850. She is supossibly full blood Cherokee Indian. Well that’s my brick wall.

July 18, 2007 at 9:45 pm
(13) Mary says:

I still have several brick walls, but one crumbled a couple of months ago. I had been trying for 30 years to find where my great grandmother Mary Nash came from in Ireland. I knew she had a brother who lived in NJ but had not had any luck there until April this year when I found on-line a Biographical and Genealogical History of Newark and Essex Cty NJ (1898)- her brother was there and it gave the county he came from and the names of all his brothers and sisters (4 we never heard about). Not only that but I learned that her mother also came to the U.S. and lived in NJ for almost 30 years. I have now found numerous records in Ireland. Now if I can only find out where my great great grandfather came from in Ireland – the next brick wall.

July 19, 2007 at 12:22 am
(14) rose benson loyd says:

i have so many brick walls…southern ancestry…courthouses burned, records destroyed. my favorite brick wall is JOHN O. YOUNG… born around 1802 in NC (?)..can be found md to elizabeth prater in franklin county, tn..moving to van buren county, ark..sheriff in 1841-42..moving to clark county, ar..and there is where John O. disappears. some of his children go to grayson county, tx. i have had professional genealogist search..always the same. so sad to me. i know he existed…but what happened to him. Young is a common name..but as far as i am concerned…a “dead”name. maybe i will meet him on the other side or can he hide there…thanks for letting me vent…rabl

July 20, 2007 at 1:05 am
(15) Ellen Thompson says:

My grandfather, Harold Alfred Thompson was born out of wedlock and never knew who his father was. Later in life he late registered his birth, and on the advise of a lawyer, took the last name of his stepfather.

With on-line genealogy records I was so happy to find his actual birth registration and his father was listed as Godfrey Myrtle, Stone Mason in York County, Toronto, Ontario.. I never thought I’d be able to discover his father’s name.

But it’s down with a huge brickwall and up with another as I can’t find out anything about where Godfrey came from, who he was and where did he go.
But I won’t give up after all it only took 99 years to find my andfather’s father.. it may take a few more to find more about him. Ellen Thompson or should it be Ellen Myrtle???

July 21, 2007 at 9:31 am
(16) Brian Manson says:

A lost Robert William Surry (b. 1841, Wrentham, SFK), who was my grandfather’s uncle, looks rather contented in the undated photo of him someplace in Africa, probably about 1885. He sits with an African boy on each side. Sadly, no clue as to where.
Robert was raised in and around Hastings in a coastguard family. My grandfather Fred Surry, who emigrated to Western Canada in 1909 to teach, and, later, a bookstore owner in Edmonton, would show his eldest daughter (and others) a book written on British exploits in “Africa” which included his uncle Robert’s name. Fred would name his 4th son “Hector”, after Sir Hector MacDonald (a connection?).
I think I may have bour Robert William on the 1861 census (on board a ship). Beyond census enumerations, message boards, South Africa web contacts, relatives, etc. – nothing.

July 22, 2007 at 12:11 am
(17) Lynda Griffin says:

My brick wall is my Grandfather William Henry Brown born in Yorkshire either 1871 or 1874. Married Emma Maude Palmer. I know that william’s father was named Joseph and was a farmer. We have been unable to locate his birth record or any other details about him. It is both sad and frustrating.

July 23, 2007 at 5:32 pm
(18) Joan McIlmoyl Cleghorn, U.E. says:

Like many of the above comments, I have more than one brick wall, however the one that seems the most difficult is also the most recent. My g-gf, George Mills, was born in County Fermanagh, Ireland sometime between 1835 & 1840 based on Marriage, Census and Death Regsitration info. His parents were James & Sarah Mills. He apparently left Ireland sometime prior to 1860 and came to Eastern Canada posssibly with his parents or not. He is reported in the newspaper to have travelled overland to British Columbia for the Cariboo Gold Rush among the first to travel overland (so far I’ve found no reference to him as an ‘Overlander’). He was a successful gold miner and came to the Victoria BC area & bought a large farm in 1874, married here in 1875, had children here and died here in 1888. I have no info on where in Fermanagh he came from and, with such a common name it is really looking in not just one haystack but several as there are numerous likely places in ‘Eastern Canada’ where he may have lived or, he may simply have arrived in Eastern Canada and immediately travelled to British Columbia.

Any ideas or suggestions would be most welcome! His wife was Margaret Ann Nicholson, born in Bruce County, Ontario of Irish immigrant parents and he had 1 son who lived to be an adult and 4 daughters. His son & 2 of the daughters moved to Los Angeles. Only 1 of these daughters married and had children the other was childless while the other 2 daughters stayed in British Columbia, 1 remaining single and the other, my grandmother, married and had children. The son never married nor had children that I’ve found. The daughter who had children in Los Angeles had a daughter & a son. I’ve traced this daughter and a son of hers both of whom have died. The son (grandson of George)I’ve been unable to find after the 1930 US census.

Even to find a slightly loose brick in this wall would be a bonus!

July 23, 2007 at 8:35 pm
(19) CC Ebert says:

My fathers family (CHIVINGTON) have written records – and with a name like that, easier to trace.
My mother, however, is a different story. She was nee LEWIS, and her mother was a WILSON. We have no birth records…My mother was the only one in the family with an actual birth certificate. I have some idea the family were Welsh coal miners…but that is all. I am at a loss as to where to start!!!

July 23, 2007 at 8:58 pm
(20) Melissa Matley, Taylorsville, GA USA says:

My brick wall is my great grandfather (on my father’s side) and his mother and father. I know that based on military records and stories told by my dad, my gg-grandmother Jane, was married to a J.T. Cook and they had one child, my gg-grandfather James Theodore Cook in January 1877 in Marietta, Cobb County, Georgia. His father died when he was a young child. I can’t locate them in the 1880 census at all. James Theodore Cook went by the name Wigley as a young child and was sent to live with a relative in Chattanooga, TN as a child. In his military records, his next of kin is listed as a Mrs. A. Allen of Chattanooga, TN. I do know that his mother Jane remarried a man named Castke Pinkney Wigley and had three children together, Martha Dora, Nettie and William Grady. Jane died sometime before 1897, as Castle Pinkney Wigley remarried a Teresa Jane Sullivan in 1897 in Cherokee County, Georgia. I found them in 1900 census in Fair Play District, Cherokee County, Georgia.

I do not know when Jane Cook Wigley died nor do I know when James Theodores father died or where they are buried. This is my brick wall.

July 23, 2007 at 10:14 pm
(21) Betty Siders Srok says:

My brick wall is my G.G.Grandmother Sintha aka Cynthia McCaskill,born in North Carolina(County unknown)in 1812. Have no clues of who her parents were,or where they were born. Have hit brick wall after brick wall looking for these lost GGG Grandparents. (The McCaskill line is said to originate in Scotland, Isle of Skye). Any help out there?

July 23, 2007 at 10:37 pm
(22) Steff Beeton says:

I have many brick walls in the families I have been hunting – but just managed to knock one down with interesting results. I had a husband take on his wifes maiden name (Crosthwaite) as her name held more status in that particular parish (Crosthwaite in Cumberland, England). This was not uncommon back in the 1500′s as I have since learned! Unfortunately it has taken me years to sort this one out :)

July 24, 2007 at 6:54 am
(23) Megan Skinner says:

My brickwall is on my late husband’s side. I am trying to locate his ggg grandfather’s family, Patrick Fleming. The only info I have is that Patrick came from County Wexford, Ireland prior to 1819 and settled in Hope River, Prince Edward Island. He married Elizabeth Vincent but I have not located a marriage record. They had 3 children. The first a son John born 1819, then twin daughters Mary Ann and Catherine. I have not been able to find anyone who recalls stories of this man’s journey to PEI.

July 24, 2007 at 11:42 am
(24) Tom Sparrow says:

My brickwall is my gg-grandfather’s parents. Hiram Wesley Sparrow was born in 1811 and lived in Lincoln County, N.C. He married Julia Dews in 1835 and lived in the Gastonia area until his death in 1888. I cannot get a clue as to his parents or track them down. I have an idea that his father was named Abram or Abraham and came from Virginia, but I can’t find any proof. I have lots of info from then to now, but nothing prior to 1811. If anybody out there has any info, I sure would appreciate it.

July 30, 2007 at 8:14 pm
(25) Paul says:

My brickwall is my GGG grandfather’s Mother and Father. Gabriel Shaw born 1818 Brown Co. Ohio, married 1839 to Lucinda Wolf in Fayette Co. Indiana, died Hawleyville, Page Co. Iowa. I cannot find no record of Gabriel’s mother or father

August 2, 2007 at 9:40 pm
(26) Barb Maloney says:

Melissa, #20 above, J.T.Cook Think I may have information for you. I have an Cullen Otwell with a small son J.T.Cook in his family when he was killed durning civil war.His wife remarried and dissapeared, This in the area you are searching. Also the Tn. name ties in possiably.
send message to EDITOR, BGS, P.O. Box 1123 Cocoa Fl.32923. Place Att. Barb in left corner.please inclose you email address and I will get back to you.

August 3, 2007 at 9:23 am
(27) Glitz says:

I am searching for two brick walls.

Sarah Elizabeth/Lizzie last name believed to be Wright b 1878 Tx (per census) father b Ca m b USA. She m James Edward Davis 1898 possibly in Coleman Co Tx. Their children were b in Novice Coleman Co Tx 1904 to 1910. After the birth of the last child was born in 1910 there is no record of her.
I got the name Wright from father in laws SS app. Not for sure it is correct.

The next brickwall I have is Lady Jane Kennedy b 1818 Ireland (said to be Co Cork) She went to Scotland before 1845 when she married Samuel Anderson and they had a daughter 1847. By 1850 they were on the ship Cuthbert headed for NYC. They had three sons b there. William Maitland Anderson my ancestor, Robert K, and Samuel Jr. Samuel Jr. died age 9. Daughters name was Margaret Maitland Anderson.

Jane died 1909 Dunlap Kansas.

Thanks Glitz

August 4, 2007 at 3:12 pm
(28) Clara Jaramillo says:

My brickwall is my father, he was born 1902 in Columbus, Kentucky, his name was Lewis for some reason and I don’t know why for sure his surname was HOOD, all he could remember was 3 women, & a old man thinking the old man was his grandfather, couldn’t remember what woman was his mother, as an Aunt name unknown and uncle with their family took him to Douglas, AZ and gave him away, again for some reason I want to think the uncle’s name was Joe Dodge, I could never find that family, he was adopted by a school teacher Lizzie McMillan Sehorn, I found them in the 1910 census in Merlin, Josephine Co., Oregon, he join the Navy before 1920, under the name of Sehorn, then later took the surname McMillan join the Army. Thanks Clara

August 8, 2007 at 5:21 pm
(29) Sybil A says:

THOMAS HORNE, Whatever became of you? I believe you were born ca. 1774 and were in Fayette County PA but don’t know if you were born there. Don’t know who your parents were either. In about 1796 you married Priscilla SHACKLETTE in Fayette County. Her parents were John Shacklette and Barbara Quick. You and Priscilla had a child Sarah who was born in Pennsylvania. Soon after, you and your little family headed for Kentucky. I’ve heard you were a riverboat man so you flatboated down the Ohio River to old Louisville in Jefferson County. Some of Priscilla’s family had already taken off for there and settled in Meade County KY. But you and Priscilla stayed awhile in Jefferson County where several more children were born. I haven’t found you in any tax records there so you must have not put down any roots, but probably were working up and down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers while Priscilla stayed behind in Louisville. She must have seen you from time to time, hence the large family of children she bore, the last son Jesse Horne being born in 1810. Not a trace of you after that! There was a large earthquake in that area around 1811. Were you on the river then? Many died on land as well as on the rivers at that time. At some point, Priscilla left Louisville and was in Meade County KY in about 1821. She signed a record of her daughter Mary’s marriage but your signature wasn’t on it. Were you ever in Meade County with the family? If you were, I’ve found no records of your presence there. I suppose you could have just up and left Priscilla and gone who knows where. I did find a Thomas Horne in another county in Kentucky who had married a divorced lady about 1856 but I wasn’t sure if he could be you or not. Thomas, you’re my gggg-grandpappy and I’d sure like to know whatever became of you. You sure did cover your tracks good, I’ll say that for you. So if there’s anybody out there who might know anything about you, I’d surely like to know what the story is!

August 12, 2007 at 6:35 pm
(30) mary anne jones says:

Looking for the birthplace in France–Alsace Lorraine of my paternal great grandparents. Their names are Marianne Seyer and Joseph Mangin. They had daughters Marie,Maria, Josephine, Sidonie and Louise.Sidonie came here in 1888 on the Bretagne out of LeHAvre. The rest came in 1889 on the Bourgoyne. They settled in Berkshire County, Mass–Lee and Lenoxdale. Maria was my great grandmother and married Alfred Caritey. I have hit the proverbial brick wall and I can get no data from France until I can ascertain what town they were from/
. All government records in France are listed by town of origin. As of now it seems as if they just appeared out of nowhere. HELP

August 1, 2008 at 5:07 pm
(31) michele menzies says:

Just venturing into my ancestry and came across Ms. McIlmoyl Cleghorn’s post (see #18). My father, Austin Menzies, is the grandson of her grandfather, Geo. Mills, and the son of Catherine Mills (Geo’s youngest daughter) and Frederick Menzies (of Scotland and Canada). Austin (my dad) was born in 1914 and is still living. His sister,and my aunt, Yvonne Menzies Stirton, was born in 1911 and died in 1993.

Hope that provides at least one “brick”; perhaps we can share more info.

Happy hunting!

August 5, 2008 at 1:28 pm
(32) Joan says:

My Great Grandfather, Edward W. Allen, is my brick wall! Here is information that my Aunt and Uncle came up with about Edward W. Allen, many years ago, after talking with Celia’s other children. None of them are still living.

Edward W. Allen (maybe Wesley or William and maybe Stephen) born about 1850, Lake Michigan, Lansing Michigan, married about 1881, died about 1888. He was supposedly buried in Bingham Cemetery. Records were burned and we can’t find any records for him anyplace! We went to Bingham Cemetery a few years ago and didn’t find him there. The Sexton told us that there are 250 unmarked graves there?

Information from family shows that he was a bartender and a Miner; also that he had 2 brothers and 1 sister, OR 1 brother and 2 sisters?????

Records show that Edward was thought to be in Butte, Montana in 1885 or 1886. He was a miner or bartender in Bingham, Utah.

1900 Census report shows that the birthplace of James Stephen Allen’s father, Edward, is in Michigan, and his mother’s birthplace is in Sweden. His parents are: Edward W. Allen and Selia Andersdotter (Ceclia Hanson)

The following information came from Oren P. Tyrrell and Marie Tyrrell Van Syoc Fackenthall, son and daughter of Cecilia and Oren Tyrrell.

Ed Allen was thought to be 10 to 15 years older than Cecilia. (Her birth date is: 4 Dec 1857)

Ed Allen was a carpenter. He had gout. He worked cleaning saloons for liquor. It has been said that he burst open in his coffin. He came from a large family of brothers and sisters. Was black sheep of the family. Supposed to have come from Michigan. When Ed died, his hair was almost white, otherwise it was red.

Here is what shows on James Stephen Allen’s brothers and their families: I have looked for Edward Allen through these names too. Nothing about him!

John Wesley Allen
Born 25 Mar 1884 Pelican Point, Utah, Utah
Died 12 Nov 1921 Pelican Point, Utah, Utah Buried Provo, Utah, Utah 15 Nov 1921
Married 23 Dec 1908 Salt Lake, Salt Lake, Utah to Nora Daniels Born 16Apr 1891
Aline (Toots) Allen Born 5 Sep 1910; Garth Allen, Born 25 Jul 1917; Zoe Allen Born 26 Apr 1921, Frank Allen Born 5 Jan 1924 – Frank was born after father’s death date. Did his mother have a second husband? I don’t have places where they were born.

William Dexter Allen – known as Uncle Bill to his nieces and nephews
Born 30 Mar 1887 Pelican Point, Utah, Utah; Died 25 Jun 1941 Tremonton, Cache, Utah (Auto Accident) He lived in Salt Lake City, Utah; Buried 1941 in Provo, Utah, Utah
Married Faye Magdelline Beck 26 June 1913 Provo, Utah; only one child born to them:
Edwin Spencer Allen
Born 14 Nov 1913 Eureka, Juab, Utah
Blessed 1 Mar 1914.
No other information on him at this time.
William Dexter later married Annie Swenson 4 Aug 1920

James Stephen Allen (My Grandfather)
Born 16 Oct 1882 Pelican Point, Utah, Utah (oldest child) ; He married Mary Jane Matson 14 Feb 1910 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah. They had 10 children, one being my Mother. No one in this family have any more information than what I show here so I won’t list all of them.

I have looked for each of my Grandfather’s brothers, their wives, and all of their children, looking for any information on them, hoping to find something about Edward W. Allen. Nothing so far!

The 1850 Census from Michigan on 26th Sep 1850 shows the following information; but is this my Edward W. Allen???? I can’t make out the City or County names. City looks like Noble, County starts with a “B”?
Walter ? Smith – 41 – Farmer – Born – I can’t make it out?
Sally Smith – 36 – Born NY
Caroline Allen – 13 – Born England
Garth Allen – 8 – Born NY
Edward W. – 6 – Mich – Could this be my Edward W. Allen?
Emily Allen – 4 – Mich

My Aunt and Uncle have given me all the information that that they have researched and copied since I was a little girl. They tell me it is my turn now to look for our Grandpa (my great grandpa). The above information is all they had about Ed Allen. They found lots of information on his wife, Celia, but nothing much on him. Seems that he was the “black sheep” of the family, and not much was ever told about him. The only dates we have are the ones shown here for him; they are all “abt” dates.

I have also talked to a few people who I hoped knew the Allen’s who lived in Pelican Point in the 1800’s. Most of those people have since passed away. One older man that my brother and I talked to a few years ago remembered some Allen’s lived about a mile or so south from them in Pelican Point, but he really couldn’t remember any of them.

August 5, 2008 at 6:57 pm
(33) Mary Walker says:

My paternal grandmother’s brother was Edward James Capel Neale. Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1886, (to George and Mary Jane Croft Neale) and resided in England from 1989 to 1905 when the family homesteaded to Canada. He married Lily Madden in York, Ontario, Canada in 1911. I lost track of him after that. My grandmother, Rosa Muriel Mary Neale Brown moved to Redondo Beach, California, in 1924, where her stepmother lived, after her husband died in 1923 in a work-related accident. I do not know what happened to any of his other four sisters after they married either. Except one sister, Mary Ethel Neale Crowe Helgeson and her husband, Jack Helgeson, lived with us for a while in Los Altos, California, when I was about 9 years old. What happened to the Neales? Mary Brown Walker

September 28, 2008 at 10:09 am
(34) JM Fuller says:

We know about brickwalls in my family. My cousins and I have been looking many years for our gggrandfather, George W. Holloway, b. abt. 1838/39 in GA and last found on the 1860 census with his 16-year-old wife Elizabeth MNU, b. 1844 UNK, At that time they were living with his father and mother, John and Dorcas Holloway, in the 11th Division, Carroll County, GA. We have found no record of that marriage.

Family oral history is that George W. Holloway died in the War Between the States, but we have found no military record under all spellings of his surname–which matches his information. There were several
G. W. Holloways in the family which also makes it hard to distinquish one from the other without specific information.

We knew that my ggrandfather lived in Henry/Clayton Co. GA when he died. Searching the records in Henry Co., I found an 1873 marriage record for his mother, Mary Elizabeth Holloway, and Henry Mitchell in Henry County GA. And we found her burial site in Henry County as well.

According to her tombstone at the Old Conkle Cemetery, she died in 1878 and was buried along side her son John Manson Holloway, b. 1865 UNK and d. 1876 UNK. In the 1880 census, Henry was living with his brother John in Henry County, GA near their mother Elizabeth Mitcheal, b. 1818, SC., a widow. John was married to a Martha Conkle.

Mary Elizabeth’s and George’s oldest son Marion Francis Holloway (our ggrandfather), b. 1860 in Heflin AL, according to his death certificate, was living with the Turner family next door to Henry in the 1880 Henry County census. We have found no record where Mary Elizabeth Holloway lived from the time of the 1860 census record in Carroll Co. GA until her remarriage in Henry Co. GA in 1873. So far, we have not been able to locate her or her children on the 1870 census in either Georgia or Randolph County, Alabama where her in-laws moved, probably abt. 1875 or near where his death certificate reports Marion Francis was born in Cleburne County (Heflin) AL.

We can only speculate that Mary Elizabeth moved to be with her family or friends, thus moving back to Henry County GA or moving with them to Henry County GA after George died. That might mean her own family was living near her in both locations.

Any information or suggestions on overcoming this brick wall would be greatly appreciated.

September 28, 2008 at 3:23 pm
(35) Jo Vickery says:

I’m searching for data on John Wesley Craft b. 11 Aug 1828, Elbert Co., GA. He married twice, I have both wives and their children, grandchildren, grgrgrands all down the line to present day.

My brickwall is, “Who were John Wesley’s parents?” Also, I can’t find where he and last wife is buried, which would be a nice thing to know, too.

Thanks so much to anyone who can give me this information.


September 28, 2008 at 3:38 pm
(36) Claudia Goodrich says:

I have been trying to find out how JW Childers (who is responsible for the basic beginnings of Abilene Christian University) and my grt-grandmother: Mary Virginia Childers, were related. Some of the confussion comes in the fact that I cannot find much about JW’s parents. They died when he was young; I do know that much. Anyone got any clues for me?

September 28, 2008 at 8:54 pm
(37) G. Kenworthy says:

The brick wall for me and many of my family researchers are the parents and grandparents of my g-g-grandfather, Jacob Elizabeth Robinson. He was born 1813 in the Orangeburg District of SC. At some early point, he became an orphan and was raised by his maternal grandmother who was of Dutch origin. According to family stories, she lived to be 110 years old !! She apprenticed him out for the stone-mason trade. Jacob’s father is thought to be of English origins from a family that moved to Holland for religious reasons. It’s thought he married a Dutch woman there. Jacob married his first wife, name unknown, about 1831 in thr Orangeburgh area, had 3 sons, and she died before 1840 when he married my g-g-grandmother, Martha Salena Smoke. I just can’t find the clue I need to solve these mysteries.

October 28, 2008 at 7:52 pm
(38) Laura says:

for sarah comment 30 my gr gr gr gr grandparents were John Shacklette 1747-1809 and Barbara Quick who i have no info on except her son my gr gr gr grandpa was ?Blaucit Shacklette of Fayette county PA, and their daughter mary (polly)shacklette born in mead county KY and married Armstrong Hale 1854, KY is where most my later relatives on that side (Hale were from Louisville,KY, Brandenburg,KY

August 16, 2009 at 2:08 am
(39) Lynn says:

I have hit several brick walls. My husbands grandfather Joseph M. Gruber was born out of wedlock to Carrie Dishong, she married a man named Peter Gruber and he raised Joseph. Sure would like to know more about Carrie but can’t find her.

September 28, 2009 at 4:54 am
(40) amanda seivewright says:

i am looking for my grandfather william washington seivewright who i think was born in scotland in the 1800′s and was in the armed forces he ended up in cuba married and then had children gwendoline rosalind stanley vincent and rupert and went to jamaica to live where he died there i have info whgen he was in jamaica but nothing where abouts he was born whether he had siblings i know nothing about him and my eather and his sister are old now and there memories are fading so if anyone can help i have been looking for over 20 years and have got nowhere thank you amanda

March 28, 2010 at 4:50 pm
(41) Cheryl Crum says:

Looking for parents of Samuel Shaw. We have his birth as March 25, 1835 in Marlboro, Delaware, Ohio. All records show both his parents were also born in Ohio. He went on to graduate from Hielderberg Seminary, Tiffin Classis of the Reformed Church in 1962. Had 3 children 2 who survived to marry and have children

July 22, 2010 at 3:46 pm
(42) Luvsea says:

My brick wall in my great Grandfather’s family I have a picture of my grandpa George with his family in front of their soddy His father’s name was William Parker I don’t know his mother’s name. they had 10 children I know 3 of the boys and the 3 girls but that is all

March 22, 2011 at 5:48 pm
(43) thomas nash says:

there r lots of nashes here in branch newfoundland

June 29, 2011 at 10:00 pm
(44) sg says:

Lynn, Your comment “My husbands grandfather Joseph M. Gruber was born out of wedlock to Carrie Dishong, she married a man named Peter Gruber and he raised Joseph. Sure would like to know more about Carrie but can’t find her.”

Where is this family located and what other information do you have. Do you have his grandfather’s birth date? May have some information.

June 30, 2011 at 9:07 pm
(45) Arlene Mitchell says:

I too am standing at the biggest brick wall ever. Searching for the brick that will open the link to my family history. Our family plot has 2 HERONS buried there, Agnes and Muriel. I know that Agnes is Muriels and my grandmother whose name was Greta mother. But who is Agnes? Where was she born? Who were her parents? Who are her siblings. Drowned in thoughts about HERON migrating to Jamaica from Scotand, I guess he had charisma, because it seemed as if he left his seed in quite a few places. Causing such a vast displacement and separation. Some here some there. Some disowned, some too ashamed to own up to their sexual immoralities while some did not care, just happy to have the name HERON. Well, as bad as it may seem Agnes had a father. Now who was he? And who are her ancesters and decendants?

September 4, 2011 at 5:35 am
(46) Judy says:

My brick wall has the name of JOHN SMITH – yes , really!! Try that for a starter. I have his marraige in 1769 to Mary WYATT in Burton on Trent and loads on his life and his children of whom he had many. But to date despite many searches and lots of speculation. I draw a complete blank about him. he was obviously well educated as he was a surveyor apprenticed to William WYATT – one of the famous WYATT architect family. He married William’s daughter MARY so must have been considered to be “worthy” of the match. All I know is he was aged 21 in 1769 so born about 1746-1748. There are no clues anywhere. He just appears out of the blue, living with the family Wyatt in Sinai Park in Burton on Trent circa 1767/1768 working for William, then gets married in 1769, then after living with the in laws for about 4-5 years, goes to live in Packington ( now in Leicesteshire) This is where he is buried. A complete brick wall!!

December 2, 2013 at 7:46 pm
(47) Amonda Moon says:

Permelia (or Pamelia) Wilkins Vaughn is my brick wall. born in Illinois in 1820. Father either Andrew or John Wlikins, no mother info. married Benjamin D. Vaughn in 1841, they lived in Webster County KY. Our family history has been traced back to Wales into the late 1700′s. but proof that Permelia was a Cherokee indian has not been found. no birth records for her or her father. Many family letters and records show this was common information and was included in the family bible. But I shall keep digging for that record. Good Luck to All!

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